What’s your reason for being lonely? There are reasons and there are misguided excuses. You can identify which are excuses and which are reasons by hearing what lonely peoples say.
“I’m alone by no choice of my own.” Some years ago I knew a lady who wanted to save her marriage from destruction. She had two sons, a lovely home and many things worth fighting for. She got her husband to agree to join a sports team for couples so they could share their leisure time in hopes that this would draw them closer together. It didn’t work. He ran off with another man’s wife he met playing volleyball in the couple’s league. Suddenly she was alone but not by any choice of her own.
A good friend recently had to place his 92-year-old mother in an extended care facility. It was an elegant home with everything his mother could possibly need. She had only one complaint: she knew absolutely no one. She felt abandoned and alone.
“I’m alone because I no longer have the connections I had in the past.” My father wasn’t real excited about my brother’s decision to attend the University of Nebraska. He finally agreed, so on the day of enrollment he drove him to Lincoln, gave him a few hundred dollars in cash, and dropped him off on a corner of the campus. He was on his own.
As a young man I took my family from the comfort of loving, supportive relatives and friends in the mid-west to Lusaka, Zambia in central Africa for a 3+ year tour as missionaries. We were 8,836 miles from those who we could depend on for love and support and we felt alone.
“I’m lonely because there is no one in my life with whom I can share my feelings and experiences.” I call this the “lost in a crowd syndrome”. We’ve all felt it. I spent three days in “The Loop” in downtown Chicago all alone. I never made one acquaintance, never talked to anyone for any reason more than a simple business transaction. I was alone.
In any large city teeming crowds live out their lonely lives with no one with whom they can share their deepest feelings. The same thing happens in suburbia where many of the lovely homes that line the streets of “Pleasant Valley USA” are filled with people unwilling or unable to relate to the folks next door. A lady sent me an email describing the loneliness she experiences in her marriage because she cannot share her deepest feelings with her husband.
“I’m lonely because I perceive myself to be unlovable, unacceptable, and unworthy of the attention of others, even if others don’t feel that way.” The person who says this is suffering from significant low self esteem. He/she will sabotage any relationship, disrupt any attempt by others to befriend them, and continue to convince themselves with negative self-talk that they are unworthy of the love or attention of anyone, anywhere, at any time.
Which are excuses and which are reasons? Which are feelings and which are conditions? If you are lonely, which of these sentences best reflects what you are going through right now? What are you going to do about it?
Next week we’ll talk about some extreme responses to loneliness.
© 2014 Ronald Ross. All Rights Reserved
- Eight Causes of Loneliness
- Danger Ahead: Extreme Responses to Loneliness